Meet our Breakout Speakers


Cynthia Baur PhD

Dr. Cynthia Baur became the Director of the Horowitz Center for Health Literacy in January 2017. Prior to coming to UMD, Dr. Baur worked for 17 years in communication leadership roles with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in Washington, D.C. Most recently, she served as the Senior Advisor for Health Literacy in the CDC Office of the Associate Director for Communication and CDC's Senior Official for the Plain Writing Act implementation. During her federal tenure, she led multiple initiatives to define best practices and guidelines in health communication and health literacy. She was the first manager of the Healthy People health communication objectives and the editor of the U.S. National Action Plan to Improve Health Literacy. At CDC, she created CDC’s health literacy website, which provides tools and online training to improve health literacy and public health, and she is the co-creator of the CDC Clear Communication Index, a set of scientific criteria for creating clear public communication materials. Her approach is based in communication science and focuses on providing diverse audiences with information in ways they can understand and use.


Corinne Berry MA, PhD (candidate)
Director of Research

Corinne is a passionate social scientist and project director with more than a decade of experience in health communication research and consulting. Her scholarship focuses on health information processing, decision making, and messaging for behavior change. She has led mixed-method research to inform communication campaigns, products, and health interventions with both private and public-sector clients. She specializes in community-based participatory research methods, rapid message and material testing, and is a RIVA trained moderator


Emily Brostek, MPH, CHES
Senior Content ManagerMPH, CHES Senior Content Manager

Emily is an experienced content manager and a skilled plain language writer with 10+ years of experience in health education, patient advocacy, and health policy. She leads multidisciplinary teams through complex web projects, ranging from site redesigns to site migrations to content maintenance plans — all informed by health literacy best practices. Emily has an MPH from the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health and is a Certified Health Education Specialist.


Kelli Ham MLIS
Community Engagement Librarian

Kelli Ham is currently the Community Engagement Librarian at NNLM PSR, the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, Pacific Southwest Region, at the UCLA Biomedical Library in Los Angeles. Kelli is responsible for outreach, health literacy education, and community partnerships in the region. To improve access to information for all users, Kelli provides training and assistance on electronic accessibility and usability of digital content. Kelli helps librarians and health providers imagine, develop, and deliver innovative programming and clear messaging about health and wellness, environmental health, and digital health literacy. Kelli will be retiring from UCLA on July 1, 2020.


Kim Hassell, MPH
Senior Health Communication Manager

Kim Hassell is a skilled project manager with more than 7 years of experience in health communication, research, and relationship management. She excels at managing complex project for federal agencies, universities, and other institutions. At CommunicateHealth, Kim manages large federal website redesign projects and other communication tasks. She is passionate about creating communication products that empower people to make informed decisions about their health.


Megan Honeck
Independent Community Health and Curriculum Specialist

Megan Honeck is the Community Health and Curriculum Specialist at Trillium Health, an FQHC in Rochester, NY. Megan is dedicated to providing affirming sex education that actively fights stigma, creating and delivering programs on such topics as HIV and other STI risk reduction/prevention, LGBTQ+ identities, and consent.
Megan also works on initiatives to promote Health Literacy, Trauma-Informed Care, and combating stigma. She attended Stony Brook University, where she studied Psychology and Gender studies. Megan uses She/Her pronouns.


Lucy Jones PhD
Founder/ Research Associate

Dr. Lucy Jones is the founder of the Dr. Lucy Jones Center for Science and Society, with a mission to foster the understanding and application of scientific information in the creation of more resilient communities. She is the author of The Big Ones (Doubleday, April 2018) and is also a Research Associate at the Seismological Laboratory of Caltech, a post she has held since 1984. Working with both the public and private sectors, Dr. Jones seeks to increase communities’ ability to adapt and be resilient to the dynamic changes of the world around them. The aim is to understand and communicate where the greatest vulnerabilities lie and what actions can be taken to reduce the risk that are the most cost-effective. With a Bachelor of Arts in Chinese Language and Literature from Brown University and a Ph.D. in Geophysics from MIT, Dr. Lucy Jones has been active in earthquake research for decades, furthering earthquake risk reduction through seismological research and integrated disaster scenarios.


Jill Krupa
University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Jill Krupa is the Interprofessional Education and Care Leader at the University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  Prior to this role, Jill practiced as a Medical Laboratory Technologist in the Clinical Cancer Cytogenetics laboratory at UHN.  Jill earned her Master of Science in Community Health, Health Practitioner Teacher Education at the University of Toronto. Using an interprofessional lens, Jill has worked with students, trainees and staff across the continuum of care to promote collaboration.  Jill is particularly interested in exploring and expanding opportunities for virtual interprofessional education.


Kristen Mackay MPH
Senior Public Health Specialist/CBA Coordinator

Kristen MacKay is a Senior Health Project Coordinator/CBA Coordinator for the University of Rochester Center for Community Practice (CCP) in Rochester, New York. In this role, she coordinates reactive Capacity Building Assistance (CBA) requests related to HIV prevention services, provides tailored workshops and other technical assistance, and facilitates trainings for the New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute Regional Training Center. Kristen has been working in the field of HIV and STI prevention for over 20 years, starting in high school as a trained youth HIV educator. Prior to joining the CCP team, Kristen worked as a program manager, where she led grant-funded health education and supportive services programs at a community-based organization (CBO). Kristen earned her Master of Public Health degree from the University of New England. She is passionate about health literacy, health equity and justice, addressing stigma, and ending the HIV epidemic.


Megan Pugmire , BA
Creative Director, Brand StrategyBA Creative Director, Brand Strategy

Megan Pugmire is the Creative Director in Marketing and Communications at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) in Portland, Oregon. She oversees the Brand Strategy team, working with art directors, graphic designers, writers, photographers and video production teams to create organizational content and creative campaigns. She also leads groups across OHSU through creative discovery processes in order to clarify messaging and communicate change. She holds a BA in Humanities with a Comparative Literature emphasis.


Doris Ravotas PhD
Master Faculty Specialist

Doris Ravotas teaches health literacy to future and present health providers at Western Michigan University. She leads a health literacy program for refugees every summer. As a fellow for the Kalamazoo Literacy Center, she coordinates the health literacy workgroup and tutor forums and recently conducted a series on CoVid-19 for literacy and English learners. Her PhD in Communications includes specializations in literacy, linguistics, and usability testing applied to health communications. She is presently on the Fulbright Specialist roster.


Audrey Riffenburgh, PhD

Dr. Audrey Riffenburgh is President of Health Literacy Connections. For over 20 years, she consulted, presented, and trained on health literacy and how to implement best practices. Audrey led health literacy efforts at a health system for several years. She co-authored Building Health Literate Organizations: A Guidebook to Achieving Organizational Change. Audrey presented at two Health Literacy Roundtables on: 1) making the case for health literacy and 2) implementing health literacy best practices.


Farrah Schwartz, MA
Manager, Patient Education and EngagementSchwartz Farrah MA Manager, Patient Education and Engagement

With over 10 years’ experience in the field, Farrah Schwartz is a dedicated health literacy teacher and practitioner. Farrah works at UHN, a multi-site hospital in Toronto, Ontario, where she uses health literacy practices to better engage patients in their care and wellness. Farrah is also the lead of the Canadian Health Literacy and Patient Education Network (CHLPEN).


Carol Simila M.Ed.
Client Communications Coordinator

Responsible for reviewing CCOs' member communications since 2007, enforcing standards of readability, accuracy, and user-friendliness. Parent of an adult with disabilities and longtime disability advocate. I will be retiring July 1, 2020.


Ariana Skye-Babbott
Executive Vice President

Ariana provides strategic direction and leadership across communication and digital strategy initiatives and to over 80 employees at CommunicateHealth. She leads a multidisciplinary team of researchers, designers, writers, and web developers to create products that exemplify plain language, design, usability, and human-centered design best practices. With first-hand experience providing health care to patients who struggle to understand health information, Ariana’s dedication to health literacy and clear communication shines through in all her work.


Jamie Carlin Watson, PhD
Assistant Professor of Medical Humanities and Bioethics (UAMS)

Jamie Carlin Watson, PhD, is Assistant Professor of Medical Humanities and Bioethics at University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), Clinical Ethicist at UAMS and Arkansas Children's hospitals, and Affiliate Faculty with the Center for Health Literacy at UAMS. His primary research is in expertise studies, health communication, and moral distress.